Senior Principal Software Engineer (Web) - BBC News

Job Introduction

Now is a great time to join the BBC News & Weather digital teams. Over the last four years, we have doubled the reach of the News site and apps in both the UK and globally. On an average week, 60% of visitors to BBC online come to News & Weather in the UK, rising to 75% internationally; when big stories hit, we regularly now exceed 100m weekly users. While we’re a big product, we’re still one-size-fits-all, and over the next two years we must make the leap to a modern, personalised digital service that works for all. We’re doubling the size of the product and engineering teams by hiring over 100 new roles to support our aspiration of creating a truly universal personal news service.

We will deliver a mix of universal top stories and curated content tailored to different audience needs, with users experiencing a rich combination of news, live and in-depth journalism in text, photos, graphics, video and audio. We know trust is key, and our teams will focus on experiences with trust and transparency at their heart. We will continue to set the standard in Live coverage online, and build a modern BBC News experience that is important, relevant and useful for everyone, every time they use it.

The BBC offers an inclusive workplace where the principles of fairness, respect, equality, dignity and autonomy are promoted and are part of our everyday goals and behaviour. We select candidates for our positions on the basis of merit and as an equal opportunity employer we value diversity and all of the benefits it brings.

Who will support me?

The BBC is widely known as an organisation that values its staff, a healthy work-life balance and a positive, growth-oriented workplace. BBC News has an excellent reputation as a great place to grow, learn and develop new skills.

We have fantastic people managers that are committed to helping their colleagues advance their careers. As a wider organisation we work to provide you with the opportunities and experiences you need to succeed.

You can spend 10% time of your time learning new skills, playing with new technology and developing yourself, because we understand the need to stay up to date and fresh in a constantly changing technical landscape.

How will I be successful?

  • Be a part of improving our great culture by demonstrating the right behaviours and attitudes.
  • Be proactive and take opportunities to increase your knowledge and experience.
  • Be a great team player and help us achieve great things together.

What is the role?

Software Engineers are responsible for designing and engineering all of the systems, products and services that power the BBC. The Senior Principal Software Engineer helps to set standards for engineering excellence and ensure quality of output across the different teams in our department.

They are responsible for providing technical guidance and input to a broad range of initiatives which span our department and the wider BBC. They bring best practice from their extensive experience into our teams with the aim of helping us to meet our audience needs and improve ourselves.

As one of the most senior technical voices in the department building some of the BBC’s biggest audience facing propositions, this role will be a voice in many internal forums shaping the future direction of BBC Online, as well as at external events. Every day will be about working with and supporting our teams to do their best work, in the best way so we do our best for our audience.

Role Responsibility


  • Develop, own, scope, shape, prototype and lead the implementation of engineering approaches to problem solving based on future strategies and longer-term needs.
  • Able to simplify complex situations and identify the key issues and priorities to be resolved. Manage conflict where variations of approach exist.
  • Able to review code output from multiple teams and ensure it can integrate well. Able to resolve technical conflict within and between multiple teams.
  • Excellent knowledge of our department’s domain and the key parts within it; able to identify areas where past choices are now a hindrance
  • Keeps a keen eye on future technologies, their roadmaps and potential for the BBC
  • Accountable for bringing external perspectives and fresh thinking into the department from a wide range of partners and network relationships


  • Represent our department externally at conferences, panels and industry events to ensure that the BBC is viewed as a leading innovator by the engineering industry and audiences
  • Be a thought leader: a senior point of expertise on software engineering issues, industry trends and developing technologies. Be a role model to others in our team
  • Growing and developing senior, mid-weight and junior team members through coaching, mentoring and general guidance of best practices in order to develop world class software engineering teams
  • Assisting with recruiting, mentoring and training new team members.


  • Works closely in partnership with Senior Leadership team, Engineering Team Leads and other senior technical people to shape engineering approaches, share knowledge and experience.
  • Responsible for the promotion and adoption of new approaches, technologies and processes. Able to motivate others to implement changes to gain wider results and benefits across multiple teams. Uses change as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Leadership of engineering change across a wide technology domain.
  • Helps to shape department wide design, patterns and development approaches.

The Ideal Candidate

As an organisation we support all of our colleagues in gaining new skills and experience. To be successful in this role you may have experience of some, but not necessarily all, of the following:

  • Deep technical expertise in at least one or multiple of: Mobile development (iOS/Android); Web development; backend services/APIs
  • Strong experience of hands-on technical leadership across multiple teams and stakeholder management with both technical and business stakeholders
  • Experience of driving technical improvements in a wider engineering community and best practice across multiple technologies, teams and locations
  • Strong communication, able to explain problems and potential solutions in a way that enables a range of colleagues to understand and engage with the pros and cons of proposed technical choices.
  • Proven experience of working collaboratively with people from a range of backgrounds and experience, and being comfortable with a high level of matrix organisation.
  • A track record of iterating and driving increased team performance over sustained periods of time, in terms of technical solution quality, velocity and user success.
  • Significant experience working in areas with technical debt and operational complexity.
  • Strong experience of working with big impact brands such as News with a significant operational landscape.

Tech stack

We use a wide variety of tools and technologies across our teams, and no one is expected to work with or have experience of, all of them. To give you an idea though:

For our user facing "front end" products we use web technologies, primarily JavaScript, Typescript, React, and NodeJS. For our APIs and "back end" services we primarily use Java, Scala, and NodeJS, as well as persistence layers like Redis, Mongo, and PostGres.

We also create and support reliable and scalable cloud based microservices on Amazon Web Services, use Git and GitHub for version control, and use testing tools and approaches, such as Test Driven Development.

Package Description

Band: E
Contract type: Permanent
Location: Flexible (London, Cardiff, Salford or Glasgow)

We’re happy to discuss flexible working. Please indicate your choice under the flexible working question in the application. There is no obligation to raise this at the application stage but if you wish to do so, you are welcome to. Flexible working will be part of the discussion at offer stage.

  • Excellent career progression – the BBC offers great opportunities for employees to seek new challenges and work in different areas of the organisation.
  • Unrivalled training and development opportunities – our in-house Academy hosts a wide range of internal and external courses and certification.
  • Benefits- We offer a competitive salary package, a flexible 35-hour working week for work-life balance and 26 days (1 of which is a corporation day) with the option to buy an extra 5 days, a defined pension scheme and discounted dental, health care, gym and much more.

About the Company

We don’t focus simply on what we do – we also care how we do it. Our values and the way we behave are important to us. Please make sure you’ve read about our values and behaviours in the document attached below.

Diversity matters at the BBC. We have a working environment where we value and respect every individual's unique contribution, enabling all of our employees to thrive and achieve their full potential.

We want to attract the broadest range of talented people to be part of the BBC – whether that’s to contribute to our programming or our wide range of non-production roles. The more diverse our workforce, the better able we are to respond to and reflect our audiences in all their diversity. 

We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from individuals, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic background, religion and/or belief. We will consider flexible working requests for all roles, unless operational requirements prevent otherwise.

To find out more about Diversity and Inclusion at the BBC, please click here


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